blog image

Red Flags in Relationships

February 10, 20234 min read

Watch for red flags—indicators that something needs to be questioned or otherwise validated. Often these are clues that something may be trouble in the future.” - Abigail Brenner M.D. for Psychology Today

Relationships are hard work, with each one having its own ups and downs. While sometimes things can seem to go bad all at once, knowing what signs of concern to look for from the beginning can help avoid future heartache. It can be just a bad match, a personality clash, or a conflict of character, or there could be something nefarious going on just below the surface. Traffickers often use the illusion of romance to groom their victims into doing things they would never otherwise do. When a trafficker or abuser is grooming a potential victim, there are usually some red flags that start flying.

Red Flags in Relationships

If you see some of these patterns in a relationship you’re engaging in, or if you have a friend who you think might be sliding down this slippery slope, try to take a step back to have a critical look at the situation. You might reach out to a trusted family member or friend and ask them for guidance or advice. Show them this post and ask them if they see some of these red flags. If so, make an exit strategy, end the toxic relationship, and stay safe!

FAST FRIENDSHIPS
Relationships take time and that process is helpful to figure out compatibility and discover what things you may or may not have in common with your new acquaintance. Someone who skips this step in the discovery process might be waving a red flag.

It’s ok to take it slow and ask for some space & time to pass naturally when forming friendships.

LOVE BOMBING
The natural progression of romantic relationships involves moving from one stage to the next with the consent of both parties involved, but someone saying “I love you” and wanting to move faster than you’re comfortable with could be a red flag.

If your boundaries aren’t respected in the beginning, they won’t be respected as time passes, so you might want to look for love elsewhere.

GIFTS GALORE
Lots of gifts like jewelry, electronics, designer clothing and bags, expensive shopping sprees, and trips to the beauty salon are every girls’ dream, but traffickers use these luxury items as lures to show false affection. They also keep track of the “tab” and are eventually going to expect repayment for all they have spent. That payback might mean they expect the recipient to engage in commercial sex to squash the debt.

Be wary of anyone showering you with excessive or expensive items, it could be a red flag of warning.

CONTROLLING BEHAVIOR
Healthy relationships are built on mutual trust, so if your new beau seems suspicious of your whereabouts or wants you to share your location with them at all times, you might want to zoom out and think about why they are distrusting of you.

Jealousy and envy are other red flags to watch for, and if you see signs of control, consider breaking it off and finding a mate who won’t be so insecure.

RAGE, JEALOUSY & ISOLATION
Anger and aggression are major red flags, and if the person you’re dating wants you to stop talking to the friends you’ve had for years, or tries to separate you from your family, you might want to reconsider the relationship. Anyone who tries to use anger to control another person is dangerous, and traffickers tend to work fast to bring division between their victims and anyone who might help them see their scandalous tactics.

PRESSURING INTO SEXUAL SITUATIONS
If your new love interest thinks it’s a good idea for you to make money in the commercial sex industry you should see that as a giant neon sign saying DANGER!!!

Whether it’s giving a lap dance at a party, webcamming, working at a strip club or adult bookstore, or engaging in prostitution or the production of pornography, these dehumanizing acts put a price tag on a person. A lover who values and respects their mate would never want them to be reduced to a body part to be bought and sold for someone else’s sexual pleasure.

The industry of commercial sexual exploitation is built on the commodification of human beings and there is no place for love within its downward spiral. If your love interest wants to introduce you to “the life” or is trying to convince you to engage in “sex work” you need to get out fast.

blog author image

Sandy Storm

Sandy Storm is an author, speaker, and abolitionist. Generously gifted with a creative spirit, Sandy is an inspiration to many. She shares her story of great love, hope, forgiveness, and redemption, and her presentations have been called educational, inspiring, and powerful. Attendees leave feeling empowered to bring positive change to their circles of influence. Sandy is also a published author, having written a trilogy about her experiences with child abuse, addiction, abortion, human trafficking, and the industry of commercial sexual exploitation, available at FootprintPub.com. Sandy has experienced a powerful transformation, going from victim to survivor, and now she is truly thriving, now living what can only be described as a brand new life.

Back to Blog